When the first iPad was announced in 2010, the world was presented with what was a game changing device. It wasn’t the first tablet to market, but it was the product that made us want one.
In the initial years, when smartphone screens were around 4 inches, it was very appealing to have a large screen device, yet in recent years the appeal for tablets went rather quiet, many who own one don’t see a reason to replace it, while others are yet to buy their first. In 2019 we have a more mature market where there is a tablet suited for anyone, and there are some stunning examples.
BEST TABLET FOR READING
Since 2007 Amazon has been making a device with the core function being to read books. The 2019 Kindle has come a long way since the original and still focuses on being the best eReader on the market with access to one of the largest bookstores on the planet. Their latest release uses new eInk technology to ensure the text is sharp and with a higher contrast. It looks much better in full sunlight too making it the perfect holiday companion. With the addition of a front light, you’ll be able to read in bed without the need to keep the lamp on. With access to millions of books our favourite feature is still the weeks of battery life the Kindle easily achieves. At $139 it’s cheaper than an IKEA bookshelf, and holds more books too.
BEST TABLET FOR ON THE GO
We mentioned the original iPad coming to market in 2010. That was a 9.7 inch device and for those wanted something smaller, the iPad Mini became available in 2012. The 2019 iPad Mini, at a glance, could be mistaken for the original. The design is very similar. What we see now though is a device that can be held in one hand with as much power as the larger iPad Air. With an Apple Pencil compatible retina display, we’re now looking at a device that is not limited by form or function and fits easily into our lives. As a product that will slide into your handbag and add only 300g of weight it might be the most versatile tablet on the market today. The iPad Mini starts at $599 for the 64GB Wi-Fi version.
BEST TABLET FOR THE KIDS
Spending $599 on an iPad could be daunting when considering your kids needs. For the basics of browsing the web, consuming content and some simple gaming, you’ll be surprised by the Telstra Essentials tablet from Alcatel. It is an 8 inch tablet with Wi-Fi and 4G connectivity, it runs the Android operating system and has a camera on the front and rear of the device. Beyond specifications though, the family features and parental controls set this apart allowing you to feel confident that your children are using this tablet safely without needing to look over their shoulders. The best bit is the $149 price tag meaning you could buy a few of these before it equals the cost of a big brand alternative.
So many tablets on the market will take your smartphone experience and enlarge it. We’re still swiping and streaming and consuming content, but not really creating content. On the Microsoft Surface Go, you can do all of the viewing and reading you like, but you can’t find a better tablet prepared to tackle all your daily activities. The Surface Go has a 10 inch touchscreen display with Windows 10. This means all the typical applications for assignments or your work will operate on this device. Snapping on a keyboard with touchpad or pairing a bluetooth mouse means you’re ready to be productive wherever you are, especially given the Wi-Fi and 4G connectivity. Starting from $499 you may just realise that this tablet is also a laptop killer.
THE BEST TABLET THAT JUST LANDED
It has been a long time since we’ve been this excited for a tablet device, but this model from Samsung has our wallets nervous. The Galaxy Tab S5e has a 10.5 inch edge to edge display with more power than Zeus while being only 5.5mm thick and weighing only 400g. Announced earlier this year and available for sale from April 24th, it is likely to compete with the iPad Air. With an alleged 14 hour battery life we’re also impressed by the ability to use Samsung DeX, enabling you to connect a monitor, keyboard and mouse and use the tablet like a proper computer at home or in the office. Given how impressive their Galaxy S10 smartphone has been, we’re excited to see if this can swing potential iPad buyers with it’s $649 starting price.
Lastly, as someone who helps people make technology buying decisions on a daily basis, the common question received is around which laptop or computer to buy. When you break down why you actually need a computer, with a higher cost and slower operating mechanism, you’ll often realise a tablet meets all your needs. They are more portable and will save you money along the way. If you’re in the market for a tablet today, you may find your computer feels very unloved very quickly.
Geoff Quattromani is a tech commentator across radio, print, online and television. Continue the conversation with Geoff on Twitter